The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District (SCSFD) has promoted volunteer firefighters Ben Duda, Travis Bootes, and Rachel Ulm to the position of fire lieutenant. A formal promotion ceremony was held on Thursday, March 25, at the main fire station, and broadcast virtually so that friends and family members could participate in a safe manner.

A fire lieutenant is the first-line supervisor for a group of five to seven firefighters, often called a “fire company.”

According to Deputy Chief Tim Craig, the lieutenant is one of the most important positions in the fire service.

“We are very careful to choose people for promotion to lieutenant who have great leadership and decision-making skills. All three of our new lieutenants bring incredible value to our organization, and I am extremely proud of each of them,” said Craig.

Duda began his fire-service career in the wildland arena during the fire season of 1994. He gained experience and qualifications in wildland firefighting, eventually achieving the position of Sisters Protection Supervisor for the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in 2006. Duda began his volunteer service with SCSFD in 2018. His experience and leadership skills lent themselves well to the structural fire service. Over the last three years Duda has gained additional certifications in structural firefighting that qualified him for the new position.

Travis Bootes has served as a volunteer firefighter since he was 15 years old, starting out as a cadet with the Harrisburg Fire Department. When he moved to Sisters with his family in 2014, he chose to continue his volunteer service with SCSFD. Bootes put in long hours to attain the qualifications for promotion, all while maintaining a full-time job working for ODF in the summer and ODOT in the winter, and keeping up with four kids under the age of 5.

Rachel Ulm serves as a resident volunteer firefighter, who lives in the station, and attends college-level fire and EMS training courses through COCC. While she was officially promoted to lieutenant in June of 2020, her promotion ceremony and badge pinning was delayed until the March 25 ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions. Ulm serves both SCSFD and the Coburg Fire District near Eugene. She continues to play a vital role in representing and supporting the resident volunteer program.

All three of the new lieutenants perform command functions and serve as recruit academy instructors for other volunteers.